Various Artists

Psych-Funk Sa-Re-Ga! Seminar: Aesthetic Expressions of Psychedelic Funk Music in India 1970-1983

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By the end of the 2000s, compilations of non-Western psychedelic music were becoming a dime-a-dozen propositions, while Bollywood compilations were getting even cheaper yet. Psych-Funk Sa-Re-Ga! Seminar outdoes the low expectations of both, stretching the boundaries of Bollywood exploitation music, and also featuring a set of '60s/'70s Indian pop at its finest, courtesy of producers extraordinary R.D. Burman and the brothers team known as Kalyanji Anandji (with multiple tracks each). Unlike most discs of this sort, the compilers at World Psychedelic Funk Classics are experts, well used to digging deep into the dustbins of history throughout Southeast Asia. Aptly, this collection is structured more like a film soundtrack than a run of singles, beginning with two scene-setting instrumentals (including a surfsploitation gem by a group called X'Lents) before splashing in with five tracks from the producers above in all their frenetic, chaotic multi-layered glory. True playback singers aren't common here (just Asha Bhosle on several tracks), but that serves the disc well; digging as deep as this, and providing a seminar on Bollywood soundtracks and the psychedelic scene around India during the '70s makes for a much more distinctive compilation. Highlights will vary from listener to listener based on whether your tastes lie in traditional Bollywood, psych-funk curios, or '60s exploitation (here courtesy of some remarkably garagey instrumentals), but shining above the pack are discoveries like Burman's "Freak Out Music" (which is exactly that), and Bappi Lahari's "Everybody Dance with Me" (reminiscent of "In A-Gadda-Da-Vida" gone Indian).

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